After some well placed and well timed hints from me, my husband agreed to take a week off so we could have a â€œsummer getawayâ€. Nothing fancy, a rented place a block from the water off the Chesapeake Bay. The plan was to sleep, eat, and read. In exchange for his willingness to go away when heâ€™s so busy at work, I, the news & technology junkie whose entire professional universe centers around electronic media, had to agree to â€œunplugâ€; a big commitment on my part.
August is usually a good time to for this sort of thing because so many other people are doing itâ€¦trying to grab that last gasp of summer before Q4 starts at the office and the kids go back to school.
We certainly picked some week for our summer vacation, a week when our country has suffered two enormous losses: Thirty of our best and brightest warriors in Afghanistan, and millions of dollars in our IRA and investment accounts.
I imagine my husband and I are like many Americans this week, we continued with our lives and our plans, but the relaxed, atmosphere that usually envelopes us on vacation was nowhere to be found. There is a sub-current of sadness that is hard to shake: A sense that it is disrespectful to be carefree when so many have sacrificed so much.
Just as the shock of the tragedy in Afghanistan was easing, the financial markets began a freefall resembling an out of control carnival ride. My â€œunpluggedâ€ promise went quickly by the wayside as the Dow Jones average plummeted. Checking my email, I found a message from the investment firm that we use, urging everyone to stay calm. I sent a quick little reply of support to the operations managerâ€¦thinking she could probably use a friendly message, only to have her write back to say that this recent dip has been the last straw for many. Her recounting sounded like a scene from a movie about the Great Depression; people banging on the door, screaming â€œsell, sellâ€ over the phone, demanding their money in cash.
No matter where you are right now in this great land, from sea to shining sea, itâ€™s a discomforting time for Americans. The families of our fallen soldiers are suffering and need our comfort, while our country is, perhaps, in the process of being changed forever.
Iâ€™m going to be glad to get homeâ€¦